English Prefixes with Meanings and Examples [Grammar English]

English Prefixes with Meanings and Examples [Grammar English]

English prefixes are affixes (i.e., bound morphemes that provide lexical meaning) that are added before either simple roots or complex bases (or operands) consisting of (a) a root and other affixes, (b) multiple roots, or (c) multiple roots and other affixes. Examples of these follow:

  • Undo (consisting of prefix un- and root do)
  • Untouchable (consisting of prefix un-, root touch, and suffix -able)
  • Non-childproof (consisting of prefix non-, root child, and root proof)
  • Non-childproofable (consisting of prefix non-, root child, root proof, and suffix -able)

English words may consist of multiple prefixes: anti-pseudo-classicism (containing both an anti- prefix and a pseudo- prefix).

In English, all prefixes are derivational. This contrasts with English suffixes, which may be either derivational or inflectional.

English prefixes

English prefixes

Meanings

Examples

a-verb > predicative adjective with progressive aspectafloat, atremble
a-notacyclic, asexual, atonal, atheist
anti-against, oppositeanti-freeze, antivirus, anticlimax, Antichrist
arch-supreme, highest, worstarch-rival, archangel
be-equipped with, covered with, beset with (pejorative or facetious)bedeviled, becalm, bedazzle, bewitch
co-joint, with, accompanyingco-worker, coordinator, cooperation
counter-against, in opposition tocounteract, counterpart
de-reverse action, get rid ofde-emphasize
dis-not, opposite ofdisloyal, disagree
dis-reverse action, get rid ofdisconnect, disinformation
en-/em-to make into, to put into, to get intoenmesh, empower
ex-formerex-husband, ex-boss, ex-colleague, ex-friend
fore-before, in frontforearm, forehead, forehand, forerunner
hind-afterhindsight, hindquarters
mal-bad(ly)malnourish, maladjusted
mid-middlemidstream, midlife
midi-medium-sizedmidi-length
mini-smallminimarket, mini-room, minivan
mis-wrong, astraymisinformation, misguide, misfortune
out-better, faster, longer, beyondoutreach, outcome
over-excessive, aboveoverreact, overact, overbearing
post-after, behindpost-election, post-graduation, post-war
pre-beforeprevent, previous, pre-election, pre-enter, pre-select
pro-for, forward, in favor ofpropulsion, propound, pro-life
re-again, backredo, revisit, rerun, reorganize
self-selfself-sufficient, self-explanatory
step-family relation by remarriagestepbrother, stepmother
trans-across, from one place to anothertransatlantic, transSiberian
twi-twotwibill, twilight
un-not, against, opposite ofunnecessary, unequal, undesirable, unhappy
un-reverse action, deprive of, release fromundo, untie, unexpected, unlock
under-below, beneath, lower in grade/dignity, lesser, insufficientunderachieve, underground, underpass, underdeveloped, underrated
up-greater, higher, or betterupgrade, uplift, upsurge
with-against, back, away (from)withstand, withcall
Afro-relating to AfricaAfro-American, Afro-Caribbean
ambi-bothambidextrous, ambitendency
amphi-around, two, both, on both sidesamphiaster, amphitheatre, amphibian
an-/a-not, withoutanemic, asymmetric
ana-, an-up, againstanacardiaceous, anode
Anglo-relating to EnglandAnglo-Norman, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-American
ante-beforeantenatal, antechamber, antecedent
anti-opposite, againstantivenom
apo-, ap-away from, detachedaphelion, apogee, apomorphine
astro-starastrobiology, astrology, astronomy
auto-selfautobiography, automatic, autonomy,
bi-twobicycle, biped
bio-life, biologicalbiology
circum-around, surroundingcircumnavigate
cis-on this side ofcislunar
con-/com-/col-/cor-/co-together or withconfederation, commingle, colleague, correlation, cohabit
contra-oppositecontradict, contraindication
cryo-icecryogenics
crypto-hidden, secretcryptography
de-downdepress, descend
demi-halfdemigod
demo-peopledemocracy, demography
deuter-seconddeuteragonist, deuterogamy
di-twodicotyledon, digamy, dioxide
dia-throughdialysis, diameter
dis-/di-/dif-apartdiffer, dissect, divide
du-/duo-twodual, duet
eco-ecologicalecosystem
electro-electric, electricityelectro-analysis, electromagnetic
en-, el-, em-inellipsis, emphasis, energetic
epi-, ep-upon, at, close upon, in additionephemeron, epicentre, epidermis
Euro-EuropeanEurocentric
ex-out ofexit, expel, explode, exploit, explore, export
extra-outsideextracurricular
Franco-French, FranceFrancophile, Franco-British, Franco-German
geo-relating to the earth or its surfacegeography, geology, geometry
gyro-spinning on an axisgyrocopter, gyroscope, gyrosphere
hetero-differentheterosexual
hemi-halfhemimorphic, hemisphere
homo-samehomogenous, homologous
hydro-relating to water, or using waterhydroelectricity, hydrant
hyper-above, overhyperthermia
hypo-under or below something, lowhypothermia
ideo-image, ideaideograph, ideaology
idio-individual, personal, uniqueidiolect, idiopathic
in-in, intoinsert, include
Indo-relating to the Indian subcontinentIndo-European
in-, il-, im-, ir-not, opposite ofillicit, impossible, inexact, irregular
infra-below, beneathinfrared
inter-among, betweeninteract, intercede, international
intra-inside, withinintravenous
iso-equalisochromatic, isotherm
macr-longmacrobiotic
maxi-very long, very largemaxi-skirt
mega-, megalo-great, largemegastar, megalopolis
meta-after, along with, beyond, among, behindmetabolism, metaphysics
micro-smallmicrobacillus
mono-, mon-sole, onlymonogamy, monotone, monosyllabic
multi-, mult-manymulticultural, multi-storey, multitude
neo-newneolithic, neoclassical
non-notnonexistent
omni-allomnipotent, omnipresent, omnivore
ortho-correcting or straighteningorthodontics, orthotropic
paleo-oldpaleolithic
pan-all, worldwidepan-African, pandemic, panorama
para-beside, beyondparallel, paranormal
ped-footpedal, pedestrian
per-through, completely, wrongly, exceedinglypermeate, permute
peri-around, near or adjacentperihelion, periphrase
photo-lightphotoelectric, photography
pod-footpodiatrist
poly-manypolygon, polyhedron
post-afterpostfix, postpone, postscript
pre-beforepredict, prepare, preview
preter-beyond, past, more thanpreternatural
pro-for, substitute, deputyproconsul
pro-beforeprocambium
pros-towardprosthesis
proto-first, originalprotoplasm, prototype
pseudo-false, imitationpseudonym
pyro-firepyrokinetic, pyrotechnic
quasi-partly, almost, appearing to be but not reallyquasi-religious
retro-backwardsretrograde
semi-halfsemicircle
socio-society, social, sociologicalsociopath
sub-, sup-below, undersubmarine, subterranean, suburban, support
super-above, oversupervisor, superintendent
supra-above, oversuprarenal
sur-above, oversurreal, surrender
syn-, sy-, syl-, sym-together, withsyllable, symbol, synthesis, system
tele-at a distancetelegraph, telephone, telescope, television
trans-over, through, acrosstransverse
tri-threetricycle, tripartite
ultra-beyondultramagnetic, ultrasonic, ultraviolet
uni-one, consisting of only oneunicycle, universal
vice-deputyvice-president, vice-principal, vice-admiral
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